The Long Way to Touch Typing

In this article, I write about how I got to touchtyping. On the way, I had to relearn typing several times.

I started using the computer when I was at the age of fifteen. Back then, I typed on the DOS prompt. I was not into programming yet, still, I enjoyed using the computer to create cool stuff. Inevitably, I needed to type on the keyboard. As like many others, I started to create my own way of typing.

I never really questioned my self-learned typing, and I was getting faster and faster. Ten years later, when I went to university, I met some people using ergonomic keyboards to prevent Repetitive Strain Injury-Syndrome (RSI) when working long hours on the computer. I saw some talks on conferences where people were raising awareness for this serious problem (it is often underrated).

Ergonomic Keyboards

I liked the look and feel of the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, so I bought it back then. Nowadays, I am using the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop and I am really satisfied. Using different Microsoft devices over the past years, I have to say, they are very good at designing them. Although, I enjoyed the use of these ergonomic keyboards, I realized that my typing was odd - I couldn’t type like before, because the keyboard was splitted into two parts with space in between. So I had to relearn.

Mechanical Keyboards

Ethan Schoonover, well-known person for his amazing color scheme Solarized, is also a keyboard nerd. I realized this, when I started following his social media updates. Like many other persons I know, he is crazy about mechanical keyboards (with mechanical switches), he even builds them. If you want to start, there are plenty of DIY kits for sale.

People interested into mechanical keyboards love their particular sound and the option of choosing the key switches which perfectly suite your taste, see Switch Guides here. To dive into the world of mechanical keyboards, take the subreddit as a starting point. Even though, mechanical keyboards are in general not ergonomical and do not prevent RSI, I definitely like them a lot for short-period sessions of sensual pleasure on the computer.

Keyboard Layouts

Two years ago, I bought a notebook in Malaysia while traveling with US-International key labels. I thought it would be the best time to finally start learning this layout for real. Trust me, if you are a programmer and you are not using this layout, give it a try, it is perfect for programming. I decided not to try Dvorak or any other hardcore keyboard layout, because I might not be able to type standard keyboard layout ever again.

Touch Typing

Meeting many keyboard enthusiasts, I became aware of the limitations of self-learned typing. So I started to learn touch typing half a year ago (relearning again). Even though I am back to my old speed for now, I realized it is more comforting for my hands and I know that there is much more room for speed-improvement.

I switched really late and I would encourage any keyboard worker to give it a try, even if the habit is difficult to form. In the end, all the pain and hard work will pay off any time you are in front of a keyboard. I learned touch typing with this awesome free online typing trainer in the browser. Another recommendation is Typeracer where you can attend in a typing race with other players.

One or two mails a month about the latest technology I'm hacking on.